On a typical day at George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm, visitors experiencing the house tour are ushered into the main hall upon which a dining table is set out before them with 18th-century reproductions of plates, glassware, wine bottles, and serving dishes. This setting creates an interactive experience for our visitors, transporting them … Continue reading Dig These Dishes! We Recreate an 18th Century Table Setting Using Only Artifacts.
A lot of people don’t realize how many 20th century artifacts we excavate at George Washington’s Ferry Farm. Up until the 1990s, families lived and farmed on the property, leaving tens of thousands of artifacts behind. Some of our favorite modern artifacts are the toys we recover, whether marbles, plastic army and cowboy figurines, doll … Continue reading Playing Around: 20th Century Die-Cast Toys Excavated at Ferry Farm
During the Civil War, George Washington’s Ferry Farm was the site of Union Army encampments that included some defensive works like a trench dug into the crest of the ridge overlooking the river. In that trench and throughout Ferry Farm’s landscape, Union soldiers lost and threw away a wide array of military gear and personal … Continue reading Bad Medicines: Mercury and Self-Medication in the Civil War
It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when products weren’t covered in labels listing all their ingredients in great detail. We are used to labels promising the absence of unhealthy chemicals. We are accustomed to labels warning when a product was packaged in the same facility as an allergen. Product safety is … Continue reading Bad Medicines: Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup
‘Haughty’ is not a word used often to describe artifacts. That is, of course, unless the artifact in question is a glass wax seal stamp with a kind of snooty message on it. Of diminutive size (smaller than a dime) with a pretty little flower in the center it proclaims in reversed letters “I Look … Continue reading “I Look Not On Things Beneath Me”: Our Snobbiest Artifact, a Wax Seal Stamp That Needs To Dial Back that Sass
A little more than a year ago we published a blog post highlighting a horse’s mane comb excavated years ago at George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm. Though the rusty iron mane comb was incomplete, a lone, decorative “G” located along the top of the comb hinted at a longer name we hoped might … Continue reading The Mystery of the Mane Comb… SOLVED!
Many visitors to George Washington’s Ferry Farm are surprised to learn that about a quarter of the 750,000 artifacts excavated by Ferry Farm’s archaeologists were created by Native Americans. However, given that indigenous people were living in the land we call Virginia for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans, it makes perfect … Continue reading Ferry Farm’s Oldest Artifact
This is a Memorial Day story of a tiny hatchet excavated at George Washington’s Ferry Farm. For such a diminutive object it speaks quite loudly to our local history in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Initially, archaeologists at Ferry Farm assumed it was a pewter toy souvenir given out or sold in 1932, when our country and Fredericksburg … Continue reading When a Toy Hatchet is so Much More: Trench Art at Ferry Farm
On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, Archaeologist Mara Kaktins, Ceramics & Glass Specialist at The George Washington Foundation, presented a lecture titled “Drinking with the Washingtons: Archaeological Evidence of Colonial Imbibing at Ferry Farm.” Mara explored a wide variety of beverage-related artifacts from teawares to punch bowls and discussed how cups and glasses reflected efforts by … Continue reading Lecture – Drinking with the Washingtons: Archaeological Evidence of Colonial Imbibing at Ferry Farm [Video]
Recently, archaeologists at George Washington’s Ferry Farm came across an odd glass fragment in our collection. We poured over it, passing it from person to person trying to figure out what it was. Then came the ‘ah-ha’ moment: it was a gun barrel. That’s odd, right? Turns out it isn’t. This story starts in the … Continue reading Glass Guns: A Late 19th/Early 20th Century Phenomenon